Hi, and my story =)
Hi everyone - I'm new here, just joined the forum. I wanted to ask for some input, advice, and neutral 3rd-party perspectives about my situation, if anyone is interested in responding.
to make a VERY long story short:
I've basically practiced serial monogamy for most of my adult life; though I've always had multiple attractions, I usually kept them safely segmented. I'm currently coming to terms with being poly, though it's something that has caused a lot of pain and heartache both within myself and in the lives of my loved ones as well.
I'm happily married to "T", who was practicing poly when she was younger (she didn't know it was called that at the time, and she got accused of being promiscuous), then was a nun for 10 years, then was in a serious but ill-fated relationship, then she re-met me and we got together and married very quickly. We have one child together.
I used to be married to "J", 10 years ago - she isn't poly, though after we divorced she said she probably could've been. She and I were friends first, and have managed to salvage our friendship and are cooperatively co-parenting the two children we have together (one lives with me and one with her and her husband).
I met and fell deeply in love with "M" while I was married to "J"; we live(d) far apart, and corresponded and chatted online a lot. "J" is very detached and aloof in personality, and it was a big point of departure in our marriage; I've always craved closeness and intimacy, which is something that came completely naturally to "M" and I. "M" stayed with "J" and I for a couple weeks, it was extremely awkward, and nothing physical happened between "M" and I. "J" kicked her out in the stress of it all, and I saw her again in person one other time, but again it was awkward due to outside circumstances and nothing happened.
After "J" and I divorced, I wanted to be with "M", but she was in a relationship and was also really busy with her life, so we sort of grew apart for awhile. After a couple short rebound relationships that didn't work out, I ended up meeting "E", who was extremely intense, to the point of being overbearing. My relationship with her solidified my separation from "J", who moved on to marry someone else and took the kids with her. I was really depressed because of that, and at the same time as trying to make the relationship work with "E" I was also trying to get to where I needed to be so I could be a part of my kids' lives again. "E" and I got along good, when we weren't fighting; when we were, it was truly awful, mutually abusive. I decided to end the relationship when I saw that each fight was getting worse than the last one. She was upset and hurt that I didn't keep trying to make it work.
"M" and I kept in touch this whole time, and she was hurt, but understanding, that I had the relationship with "E". She told me "please, wait for me next time." And I didn't, and even though I have no regrets and love my wife and my family and life now, I still feel bad that I wasn't more patient and didn't wait for "M".
After I left "E" and moved back to my hometown to no home (mattress in a friend's garage) and no job due to a crappy economy, I was trying my ass off to get back on my feet so I could be there for my kids, but wasn't having any luck. I was still in contact with "M", our feelings were still the same, but she still wasn't really available for a relationship, and I felt upset that whenever I was available she wasn't and vice versa. About this time I reconnected with "T", and we quickly got together and were soon married.
I told "T" about "M" very early in our relationship - at first she was jealous, and I think she still is to a degree, but she is accepting of her, and of my long-standing feelings for her. "T" at first joked about how I should "go visit M and just get it out of your system and come back", and of course there's no way I would do that, nor would "M" be ok with that. Recently "T" has been talking and hinting about how poly makes a lot of sense, how she thinks that we should be poly like some of our friends are, etc. She keeps encouraging me - half-joking but half-serious, that's kind of her style of dealing with uncomfortable issues - to "go out and get a girlfriend" because she's admittedly not very libidinous and she knows that I'm not exactly satisfied with that side of things. But I have no interest in any random girlfriend, or in pursuing anyone else whatsoever. My ONLY other love allegience is with "M", and I tell "T" that, and she understands.
"M", however, is now busy with taking care of one of her parents, and her moving here would be out of the question at this point, at least I think it probably would be. Also, "M" is someone who - given a poly situation - I would also want to be primary. I love her and care for her deeply, and would not ever want her to be or feel like she was second, because that's not how I feel about her. In addition, "T" is extremely protective of her space and life, and has told me that if I were to ever have a girlfriend, she wouldn't want to have to see her or deal with her in everyday life at all, and she wouldn't want my relationship with the other person to interfere with my relationship and family.
Aside from that, "T" and I have weathered some tough times and have come out extremely close and very much in love; we are happy with our life together all things considered.
As a side note, this summer when I take the bus back east to get my daughter from her summer at her mom's, I'm going down to the Gulf Coast for about a week to see and hopefully help volunteer cleaning the oil spill down there. I will be going right by where "M" lives. My wife knows that I'm going to NOLA obviously, but hasn't mentioned anything about seeing "M", nor have I mentioned the idea to her. I haven't told "M" about going down there yet, though I will. I haven't yet decided whether to ask her if I can come visit her. I *really* want to, but... I don't know. I'm even kind of afraid to ask "T" about it, because I get the feeling that talking in the abstract about me seeing "M" and actually doing it would be two different things for her.
Sorry about the wordiness, I actually condensed it way down! So.... any thoughts or insights? :)
Well - and this is just my style and situation - I'd just have a short conversation with "T" pretty much the way you did here. You'll be potentially in the area and how would she (T) feel if you tried to make contact with M and time & schedules permitting maybe spend a little time together. Emphasize to M that you really want and value her honesty in response because her thoughts are important to you.
Just be prepared for the possible response of "I'd be really uncomfortable with that", because that leads to much longer, deeper conversations. You may want to be prepared to settle with a promise of "nothing intimate on this trip - just a social get-together". But if you make that commitment - STICK TO IT. It will matter in the future.
Just my thoughts....
I was in the same boat for years on the serial monogamy, wish I had known about poly thing... and then I found out, and sorted things through, and found people to be with, and life is great now.
I see potential red flag waving in the breeze in your post:
Has T met M? Does she want to? Do you want her to? The long distance makes it difficult, but I can't rate highly enough getting everyone in the same room-- not to have The Talk, necessarily, but at least to have dinner and swap stories. It sounds like M's situation makes her getting out to visit you both pretty difficult, but maybe you could both visit her, after you all talk and feel ready for that step.
Thanks for sharing, and keep posting-- we're here for you.
I asked my wife about meeting "M" on my trip and she said "I already told you yes!" (I guess I have a hard time taking yes for an answer!...) She reiterated that she understands that I have a deep bond with "M" that long predates our own relationship, and that she respects that and has mostly worked through any jealousy about it. She said that she was hoping that I would hang out with her, because she knows how much we care about each other. That really means a tremendous amount to me - I know many women would not be so understanding, and I really value how understanding and amazing she is that way.
All this might be an awkward subject to get into with "M", but I still want to at least attempt it - maybe in person, if I'm able to visit. At the very least, if there is definitely no future for us relationally, I at least want her to be "off the hook" from me. She limits herself too much as it is, and I don't want to be a part of that limiting.
Welcome Worldapart!!! Keep reading.....as you can see, polyamory is not that big of a deal any more to a lot of us here!!! Fortunately we have each other for support and validation....that helps. Let go of the doubts.....this can work. Read as much as you can on this site and you will see!!!......it's possible!!! :D
Thanks idealist, that's good to hear, and it's good to have validation once in awhile. While I've sought to eradicate that as a primary motive in my life (ie. seeking validation per se), it's still nice once in awhile to be understood and to not feel like the proverbial round peg in a world of square holes!
hi! I'm "T"- why did i get 't" btw?!
I'm new. I have been on here a few times just to read some threads but officially joined after my husband told me he was on here tonight. Just wanted to respond to the above, and tell a little of my story.
When DH and I were first married I had a very strict idea of what marriage and monogamy meant and I had a lot of unrealistic expectations about having a soul mate who would meet my every need. I was so strict with myself- cut off feelings I had about others, would not flirt or even look men in the eye, lost my male friends etc. Of course I expected the same, and was jealous when it wasn't returned, but I soon realized that wasn't ever healthy. I also realized part of the problem was the loss i felt in myself regarding these standards- that i was cutting off my own sexual energy more or less.
The feelings of jealousy were horrible when I realized DH still had feelings for his ex wife and for "M." However I always favored "M" because I understood my husbands feelings for her and she wasn't as threatening b/c she didn't have the same kind of control over DH as the ex did. ( as in things that affected our home/kids/money etc) Though it hurt me when DH would be up late chatting online with either when I was lonely and in bed alone, and because of the secretive nature, because I'm sure he feared my jealousy.
Early on, before I think we were even married, and if i had been more patient, i would have waited, i really did want DH to explore his possibilities with "M." For his sake, her sake, and for my sake, because who wants to be the boring old wife, when there is the idealisticly perfect love goddess far away who will always seems better and more understanding than a tired, stressed wife hashing out big problems with DH in person?!
I have refrained from making myself overly close to either women, though I do feel a natural closeness and kinship to "M." I am also friends with ex-wife, and we have occasionally spoken about mutual struggles with DH or the kids but i don't like to get into that habit because it seems unfair to DH, and also i don't have much of a trusting feeling towards her. Also, i have built up some resentments after bring step-mom for a few years, but that is another story.
The last few years have been a real struggle for DH and i and i really distanced myself. We had a baby and mothering took over my world. I had a lot of built up resentments and as my guard has been coming down the last few months and we've had time to talk some things through, i feel much closer to DH and in love. However I also have some very serious needs to be alone, to work thru my own issues, and just sleep or write and be a mom and work on some personal goals. I don't feel like i have enough relationship time to meet DH's needs.
When i told him to get a girlfriend, i was serious, though of course i would be a little sad about it. I was prepared to let him go, and just be friends. I knew and know i have a lot of issues to work thru to work things out in ANY relationship and with him, and a lot of sexual issues.
I think it helped when i got a little crush on a neighbor down the street. I felt that jolt of attraction, which can be rare for me, and realized it was ok for me to feel that, and have that, and it didn't take away from what i had with my husband. this taught me that i really didn't need to be jealous- that we all have big hearts and can love more than one person at a time.
Sometimes it is hard to figure my feelings out. I have wished at times DH and ex wife would get back together so they would have to do all the work of raising their kids, because i find step-parenting difficult. (not the kids themselves, but the dynamics) Though my step-daughter who lives with us normally is 12 and i do not have any illusions of the parenting difficulties ahead.
As far as "M" is concerned, i have nothing but good, and slightly melancholy feelings about her. I feel like she is a loving person and could be good for DH and she is going thru hard times and he could be a support to her. The night DH he told me he was going to the Gulf, i took it as an unspoken word, that he would be seeing her, and having sex and love and everything. I felt a gulp in my throat, but was ok with it. Of course there is sadness - i grew up waiting for prince charming and wanted a man who would love only me, but that man does not exist! I do not want to chain a man to me. In fact, i find i enjoy my space, and wish at times i married a musician who would go on tour.
I hope people find this funny- i do- i hoped at times DH would have an affair b/c then he would bring me lots of flowers and stuff! ( my obviously immature side.)
When he said i am protective of my home and space etc, this is what i mean. I was a nun for 10 years. I do not want to share my home with another woman. I do not want another woman to share my child, which brings out my most evil posessive thoughts. I am his mommy, and i alone want to be his mommy! I have had to share so much in life, and that and my room and those things which pertain just to me, i guard. Of course i want my child to have lots of loving connections, but just not in a way that i would feel threatened.
I am very docile and people tend to walk all over me, and i dislike bold, overly assertive people. I love gentleness and respect. I think i would have to do some soul-searching about what another primary would mean. What it would entail in every day life. But to me, his heart is already there- is there really any difference if his body is too?
I am ok with them loving each other. I could be in the same room, but i don't think i would feel comfortable watching affection or receiving affection in that situation. I am ok with her having him to herself, and my just being close friends with Dh though i would be sad and would grieve our marriage.
I just don't want to have to negotiate parenting, house-space, money, etc with yet another person. Really i would be quite happy living in my own house with the ex wife and "M" and whoever else in their own houses. I would like to be as close as i would like to be with each one on my own time, and not in any forced contracted realtionships with lots of rules. Does my not wanting to see them make out, and not have to have intimate dinners with her make me un-poly? Does that make her a mistress?
Really i just want them to explore their love, and live their lives, and i'm not standing in anyone's way. I won't be hating, i won't be any less loving, and i just want my son and his dad to have a wonderful relationship. I care very much for my husbands soul and heart, and seeing him really and truly happy and free from the restraints that make him miserable would make me incredibly happy.
So, bring it on if it does so. I just want things to proceed carefully so things don't get harder for him, and so no one gets hurt. But, really, i hate rules. I'm a go with the flow kind of person.
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